They fly through the air with amazing ease, those daring young competitors at the annual Alpine Ski Jumping Winter Carnival at Satre Hill in Salisbury, in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills.
This is the 87th year for the main event, the Eastern U.S. Ski Jumping Championships, that often has forecast future Olympic competitors. Ski jumpers will be showing off the tremendous coordination, skill and grace it takes to soar 64 meters--over 200 feet--with a happy landing.
Traditionally, the enthusiastic crowd cheers them on by jingling cowbells as the jumpers soar. Activities have expanded into a Winter Carnival that fills two exciting weekends. The first, January 25-27, will feature extreme Alpine Ski Jumping, while the highlight of the second weekend Jump Fest, February 8-10, will be the Championship action. Both weekends will include the Human Dogsled Race, a crowd favorite where five humans pull a sled and driver around a .3-mile course. It’s all in fun, and competing teams can get very creative with both their costumes and sleds.
ALPINE SKI JUMPING
Extreme downhill skiers from across the US will be competing at Alpine ski jumping a sport also known as Gelande. This is a daring hybrid form of jumping where jumpers use heavy downhill ski equipment, including poles, and the danger to the jump by ignoring the landing grooves cut into the run for traditional jumpers.
Informal practice will take place Friday night, January 25, with Alpine ski jumping under the lights scheduled for Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday afternoon will feature a Junior Meet from 1 to 3 p.m., and the Human Dogsled Race will mush into action on Sunday at 2 p.m.
For further information, see www.jumpfest.org. For more information about ski jumping and other winter activities in nearby Litchfield Hills, including a free copy of Unwind, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com.